Those who believe and trust Nigeria’s president, Mohammadu Buhari, are gasping for breath and have had their worst fears confirmed. At the close of a “retreat” for incoming ministers, Mr Buhari literally handed power to his chief of staff, Abba Kyari. He also devolved the remnants of powers to his choice Secretary, Boss Mustafa.
Two men, it will appear, now run Nigeria but Kyari is more formidable of the duo.
“In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channelled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation” ,Mr Buhari said.
It’s not exactly shocking to those who watch the cloudy presidency but one or two pellucid questions are in order.
Question A) What’s the general function of a chief of staff?
“The title chief of staff (or head of staff) identifies the leader of a complex organization, institution, or body of persons and it also may identify a principal staff officer (PSO), who is the coordinator of the supporting staff or a primary aide-de-camp to an important individual, such as a president, or a senior military officer, or leader of a large organization.”- Wikipedia.
Recall that I have gone as far as to compare Nigeria’s knotted government with badly written mafia movies. Mr Buhari’s abdication of duties looks like the scene in one of those movies where an aging or troubled Don gives powers to his negotiated point man/men. The boss makes it clear that the lucky guys must be obeyed . Mr Buhari has done exactly that with Abba Kyari and Boss Mustafa.
Mr Kyari is very notorious for high handedness and like his mentor, also very averse to advice. But that is not the major problem here. In 2017,when Mr Buhari was always out Nigeria, there was a fight between Mr Kyari and Oyo-Ita,head of Nigeria’s civil service. Vice president Osibanjo was presiding while the fight raged. When Mr Buhari returned, news reported that Mr Kyari and Mrs Ita were ordered to be friends again.
By a curious coincidence, Oyo-Ita is today facing a- 3 billion Naira probe by Mr Kyari’s EFCC. The real motive is to take her job and give it to his tribes person.
How does an adviser, of sorts, become the sole administrator of a nation? What has happened to that nation’s laws?
On August 19, Nigeria’s head of Internal Revenue, Tunde Fowler, answered a query written by Mr Kyari! Yes, it is that strange.
With the latest development, all ministers are more or less paper tigers in their ministries. Those who will call the shots are permanent secretaries majority of whom are loyal to Abba Kyari.
Question B) What becomes of Vice President Osibanjo?
Reports didn’t say that he was at the retreat last night. Until Mr Buhari came in 2015, the office of the vice president was a powerful one. But Mr Osibanjo has been harried into doing errand jobs. Condolences when herdsmen kill, for instance and to distribute money to potential voters. He almost died when an unserviaceble helicopter that was hired for him last year fell to the ground. And presidential helicopters? No, those are for the Presidency.
And thus the rise and rise of Abba Kyari will render Mr Osibanjo more useless. His tribe has already named him “a disgrace to the race Yoruba”. Last year, as acting president, Mr Osibanjo sacked the head of Nigeria’s Secret service and appointed Mathew Seiyefa.On returning to Nigeria, Mr Buhari had Mr Seiyefa fired. Some say that Mr Kyari ordered it.
Question C) Has the cabal become official?
Much of Mr Buhari’s first term was spent mostly in foreign hospitals. His wife, Aisha, told the world that Mr Buhari was hijacked by a few men. She won’t be campaigning for him in 2019. Soon, Aisha’s son, Yusuf, almost died in a motor bike accident. The theory went at the time that it was not an ordinary accident. And very soon, Mr Buhari will say that “My wife belong in my kitchen and the other room”.
Only last year, Mrs Buhari asked Nigerians “why two men run the country. Where are the men of Nigeria”?
When Mr Buhari was announced as winner earlier this year, there was a protest against the cabal in Abuja. The next day, there were pro-cabal protests. In short, Abba Kyari and Boss Mustafa must not go.
Finally, the problem for Nigeria as the cabal consolidate power is that they will make their own rules, act their own scripts . The nation’s laws which are already under siege will die. As due process is jettisoned ,one can only expect things to get worse.
Just as Mr Kyari was able to query Mr Fowler, he will extend his reach to all parts of the government. Even the national assembly is a rubber stamp of the cabal.
You can expect more factories to close, businesses to die, unemployment and crime to be the norm. Governors will be impeached or something worse. Mr Kyari will seek to do Bola Tinubu in, in furtherance of his hold on power. Mr Kyari, power -drunk, must misbehave until the system breaks. But until then, Mr Abba Kyari is the de facto ruler of Nigeria. It is not to be argued why Nigeria has failed.
When a doctor puts quarks in charge of a hospital, the patients don’t get better. The quarks do.